Fever (which can accompany chills) is the body's natural response to a variety of conditions, such as infections. If the fever is mild (102°F [38.8°C] or less) with no side effects, you do not need to see a health care provider for treatment. You can treat the problem at home by drinking lots of fluids and getting plenty of rest.
Evaporation cools the skin and reduces body temperature. Sponging with lukewarm water (about 70°F [21.1°C]) may help reduce a fever. Cold water may increase the fever because it can trigger chills.
Medicines such as acetaminophen are helpful in fighting a fever and chills.
DO NOT bundle up in blankets if you have a high temperature. DO NOT use fans or air conditioners either. These measures will only make the chills worse and may even cause the fever to rise.
HOME CARE FOR A CHILD
If the child's temperature is causing the child to be uncomfortable, give pain-relieving tablets or liquid. Non-aspirin pain-relievers such as acetaminophen are recommended. Ibuprofen may also be used. Follow the dosage guidelines on the package label.
Note: DO NOT give aspirin to treat fever in a child younger than 19 years old because of the risk of Reye syndrome.
Other things to help the child feel more comfortable include:
- Dress the child in light clothing, provide liquids, and keep the room cool but not uncomfortable.
- DO NOT use ice water or rubbing alcohol baths to reduce a child's temperature. These can cause shivering and even shock.
- DO NOT bundle a child with a fever in blankets.
- DO NOT wake a sleeping child to give medicine or take a temperature. Rest is more important.